Beef Barley Soup

Beef Barley Soup


Hearty and comforting beef barley soup - a great way to use up any leftover beef or prime rib.
  • Serves: 6 to 10
  • Active Time: 1 hr
  • Total Time: 3 hrs
  • Views: 38,545
  • Success Rating: 100% (?)
    0% - I fed it to the dog


Step 1: Making the Short Stock (Optional)

• 1 large carrot
• 1 to 2 ribs celery
• 1 to 2 onions
• 3 to 5 beef ribs (from a Prime Rib)*
• 1 bay leaf
• 1/2 bunch parsley (optional)
• 1/2 tsp kosher salt (or to taste)
• 10 whole peppercorns
• 10 cups dark stock (preferably chicken or beef)
• 1 to 2 tsp grapeseed oil


To make the short stock, roughly chop the onions, celery and carrot. Heat a pot over medium-high heat and add the oil. Sauté the mirepoix until it starts to brown. Once browned, add the bones, followed by the stock.

*Note: I usually make this soup after I have made Prime Rib. I just freeze the bones and any leftover meat until I am ready to make the soup.

Next, add the seasonings and bring to a simmer. Let cook for at least 1 1/2 hours, to fully extract the flavors.

While the stock is cooking, you can prepare the mirepoix for the soup.

Once done the stock is done, strain it and remove any excess fat. Set aside while you start the soup.

Step 2: Preparing the Mirepoix for the Soup

• 6 to 8 ribs celery (approx. 2 cups)
• 2 to 3 large carrots (approx. 2 cups)
• 3 onions (approx. 2 1/2 to 3 cups)


To prepare the mirepoix, dice the celery, carrots and onions into medium dice. Try and cut all of the mirepoix roughly the same size.

The amount of mirepoix you will need will depend on how much stock you have and how thick you like your soup. If you like beef barley soup to be fairly thick, the pot of soup can be almost half full of mirepoix.

To gauge how much you will need, first see how much stock you have and then chop just over half of that amount in mirepoix (it will reduce in size a little once cooked). For about 8 cups of stock, use about 5 cups of mirepoix.

Step 3: Preparing the Beef

• 1 to 1 1/2 lb prime rib (approx. 3 cups once diced)


To prepare the beef, remove any excess fat and then dice into cubes about the same size as the mirepoix.

Step 4: Starting the Soup

• 1 to 2 tsp grapeseed oil
• 2 cloves garlic
• kosher salt (to taste)
• freshly ground black pepper (to taste)


To start the soup, heat a large pot over medium-low heat. Add enough oil to lightly coat the surface of the pot and then add the mirepoix. Season with a bit of salt and pepper.

Sweat the mirepoix for about 15 minutes or until softened. Meanwhile, mince the garlic and set aside.

Once the vegetables have started to soften and become somewhat translucent, add the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds or so.

Add the beef to the mirepoix.

Step 5: Adding the Stock and Seasoning

• 2 to 3 sprigs fresh thyme
• kosher salt (to taste)
• freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
• 1 bay leaf


Next, add the stock to the soup pot and gently stir to combine. Add the bay leaf and the leaves from the sprigs of thyme.

Season with a bit of salt and pepper. Depending on how salty your stock and bones were, you may need to add a teaspoon or more of salt. Simply adjust the seasoning as you go.

Bring the soup to a gentle simmer. Let cook for about 30 to 40 minutes or until the beef starts to fall apart a bit and the vegetables are cooked through, but not mushy.

Step 6: Cooking the Barley

• 1 cup pearl barley
• 3 cups stock or water
• kosher salt (to taste)


As the soup simmers, cook the barley. Add the barley to a medium pot along with the stock and seasoning. Bring to a boil and then turn down the heat. Cover with a tight fitting lid and let simmer for about 30 minutes.

Once done, remove from the heat and let rest for about 10 minutes. Remove the lid and let sit until the soup has finished cooking.

Step 7: Finishing and Serving the Soup

• horseradish (optional)
• Dijon mustard (optional)
• kosher salt (to taste)
• freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
• 1 to 2 sprigs fresh thyme (optional)


To finish the soup, add the cooked barley to the soup, stir and taste for seasoning. If you like, you can add a bit more fresh thyme. Adding it at this stage will keep it bright and makes for nice presentation.

To serve the soup, garnish with a teaspoon or so of horseradish and Dijon, if you like. Serve this hearty soup with some nice French bread or some garlic crostini, if desired.

Chef's Notes

Here is a recipe for Garlic Crostini.

Feel free to add your personal touch to this soup. You may want to add some canned tomatoes, perhaps a touch of dried oregano or may even some diced potatoes – it’s up to you.

This soup will last for a few days in the refrigerator. It also freezes quite well.


  • Jeanne L
    Jeanne L
    I used 1/2 cup of quinoa instead of a cup of barley. The flavor was almost identical. The 1/2 cup makes 1 1/2 cups when cooked.
  • Joyce M
    Joyce M
    I made a dark chicken stock and it turned out beautifully. Next I used most of it to make a Beef Barley Soup, omitting making the short stock step. Then my problem arose. I didn't have any left over cooked meat, so I bought some stew meat and diced it raw and added it to my soup. Soon all the blood crud collected at the top of my beautiful clear stock soup. In looking more carefully at the recipe, I realized it called for already cooked meat. I spent a lot more time skimming and skimming. It tasted good, but next time, if I use raw stew meat, should I just brown the meat first before or after dicing? I've gotten real good at skimming though.
  • Kimberley S Rouxbe Staff
    Kimberley S
    Glad to hear you are making your own stock! And good for you for improvising. You can definitely brown the meat, let it rest and then cut it up and add it to the soup but I'm not so sure I would choose stewing meat. It will likely be quite tough. I would choose a cut that is tender such as a ribeye steak or use the trimmings from a tenderloin that you clean yourself. Hope this helps! Cheers!
  • Doris W
    Doris W
    I added more vegetables. to make it more of a vegetable soup with the barley. I just love it! Never had beef barley soup and you can just put anything with it.

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